Information centre deferred

A new information centre at Cromwell has been deferred for a year and the Central Otago District Council plans to explore options for other businesses or agencies to become partners in the facility.

The council considered submissions to its draft annual plan on Wednesday and agreed with submitter Anita Middlemiss, of Alexandra, to reconsider spending $738,000 on a new Cromwell information centre this year.

In November last year, the council approved relocating the existing information centre, in the Cromwell Mall, to a location on State Highway 8B. A report on the plans for the centre at that time attracted 121 submissions, 108 in favour of a new, relocated centre.

At Wednesday's meeting, council chief executive Phil Melhopt said he had asked for expressions of interest from businesses wishing to design the building, but that was as far as the project had progressed.

Cr Neil Gillespie, also the chairman of the Cromwell Community Board, said the plans for revamping the Cromwell Mall had been approved by the board and that work was still to be implemented.

There was the possibility of the new information centre building being a joint venture between the council and another agency or group.

"This discussion is not about relitigating the [earlier] decision, but we need to stop and think about the cost. The cost has an impact on the timing of the facility and there may be other opportunities coming up that weren't there nine months ago," he said.

Department of Conservation Central Otago community relations programme manager Amanda Ware made a submission supporting the council giving a high profile to information centres.

She said the Alexandra Doc office was the only one in Otago without a visitor centre, and that Doc was "open to discussions" about some sort of partnership with the council in a new information centre.


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